epubli: Your Idea, Your Book

An interview with Barbara Thiele, Chief Product Officer

epubli is a Berlin based digital printing and eBook platform that offers authors full control of their book’s publication, from pricing to marketing. Launched in 2008, epubli became the first German self-publishing platform to sell through Amazon and Apple in 2010, and entered the British market earlier this year. We spoke to Barbara Thiele, Chief Product Officer.

What is epubli and the ethos behind it?

epubli is a new way of publishing. We give authors a platform to independently publish and distribute their print and ebooks. We believe in eAuthors, that is authors who are creatively independent, entrepreneurially minded and digitally savvy. Our platform enables those authors to reach their readers immediately and sell their books with the highest margins ever! We also provide services for ePUB conversions and high-quality print on demand (POD) with state of the art digital printing.

What is epubli’s business model?

Not only do we offer distribution service to all the major retailers such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Kobo, Barnes&Noble and the German Tolino-alliance but we also deliver to brick-and-mortar book stores. The key here is that our business model is set-up such that we only start making money when our authors do, so of course we strive to offer the best quality in printing, distribution and support possible.

What are the main reasons for authors using a platform such as epubli, as opposed to doing it all themselves?

Our platform makes it very comfortable for authors to get their book out and gain visibility. By bundling distribution services we save our authors a lot of time and administrative hassle. Your book is available everywhere as soon as you’ve hit the publish button! We are currently testing the Author Cockpit, a brand new feature for our authors which allows for direct and daily monitoring of sales. These insights mean that they can track and strategically adjust their marketing activities according to their success rate on the different distribution channels.

You have had great success in the German market where you were the first self publishing platform to offer e-books through Amazon and Apple. Why have you chosen to enter the highly competitive UK market at this stage, and what distinguishes epubli from other publishing services?

At this stage we still see a lot of market potential for our business model, because we offer a solution for both, print and ebooks. One big difference stems from the fact that we don’t funnel our authors through unnecessary all-in-one packages on their way to publishing their books. Instead, we give them the opportunity to get top-notch support from our pre-selected page tailors whose services range from copy-editing, to cover-design all the way through to the setting up of an author website. Our blogs are a constantly updated source of information tailored to authors on questions such as marketing, social media and the art of book-trailers! Offering support and transparency without putting a price on it, we allow the highest possible flexibility for their book projects. The fact that they can decide how much their book will cost and how many will be produced means they can control every part of the publishing process and focus on the best possible way to market themselves.

A wide range of work is published via the epubli platform, are there genres or subject areas that perform particularly well?

Yes, there are! We’re seeing a strong demand for digital reading in erotica and romance, an obvious choice for ebooks due to the discretion of the format. It’s generally a high performing subject with a lot of presence already. Other genres performing well above-average are the food & health segment as well as the whole field of science.

Discoverability – of their work – is frequently cited as the biggest challenge facing writers, whether they are traditionally published or self-published. What three tips would you give writers who want to make their work more discoverable?

First of all, it is really important to optimize the metadata – when writing a book-description and a title, authors should always keep SEO keywords in mind. Second, reviews on distribution channels, blogs and reading communities such as Goodreads and LovelyBooks can be a powerful way to promote one’s books. Writers should try to animate bloggers and readers to write positive and interesting reviews to gain visibility. Our last tip – probably our most important one – is to write great books and keep writing more great books! A Bowker-study recently showed that readers tend to read more from authors whom they already know and like.

For more information about epubli visit: http://www.epubli.co.uk/ or find them on Twitter @epubli_uk

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